Last night at dinner we were talking about inebriation, the potency of 5oz of wine versus 12 oz of beer. From there we talked about the bears here in Montana getting inebriated from eating fermented grain.
Grain falls off the train as it goes along the tracks. From time to time a train car may over turn and lose its load. Then with the rain, snow, and heat it ferments. Many animals are drawn to the impromptu bar. Bears are especially fond of the ingredients that make a good brew.
Once they find such an oasis, they will return time after time for this delectable mash. Always hoping that this magic elixir will manifest again. You have the picture. Bears are unpredictable at the best of times. Now imagine one that is a surly drunk. Not so good.
I remember one fall day going to a college class and being run into by a low flying bird. There were several of them that were dining on berries that had fallen to the ground. As I watched them I noticed that they were having trouble with their aerial acrobatic display.
I still hadn’t grasped the total picture until one of the birds was weaving back and forth on the sidewalk. His eyes were glassy and out of focus. At first I thought it was injured. Then coming closer, I caught a whiff of the over ripe berries. The bird was tipsy!
My Mother was an enthusiastic gardener and kept a compost pile in the back corner of her garden. After eating several watermelons that summer, she put the rinds on top of the compost pile. We were enjoying a real warm spell that summer.
One afternoon, I went to get clothes off the clothesline. I discovered a kaleidoscope of blue and black butterflies on the ground swarming over a fallen watermelon rind. As I approached for a closer look, I feared they would quickly take flight.
I was wrong. None of them flew away. These small beings were having a hard time getting air-born. On closer observation I noticed many had their proboscis extended and were sipping the watermelon juice. I continued my surveillance. Butterflies were staggering and falling down. They weren’t sipping juice. They were inebriated!
I often remember that long ago day, when butterflies drank watermelon wine.